For many of us, finding the time to workout can be as challenging as actually working out. Maybe your life outside of work is consumed with kid schedules or other responsibilities. Or maybe your job requires long hours, which leaves little energy to exercise once you’re off the clock.
So how do you stay fit?
Even in the busiest work places, you can find opportunities to do some mini-workouts in the office. A few short workout breaks can help make strides in your fitness. But to get the full benefits of a gym workout or a run during work hours you need a plan. Most companies encourage employees to stay healthy. Working out is one of the healthiest ways to boost productivity. However, most companies don’t have or provide gym facilities or shower areas for employees.
Start with a schedule
If you’ve got a lunch hour, you’ve got a gym or outdoor exercise hour. Trading lunch for a workout a few times a week is one of the best trade-offs you can make. One of the most effective ways to make sure it happens is to schedule your workout on the calendar. Treat it like an important meeting and schedule your workouts a week in advance.
Keep a gym bag nearby
Even with a schedule, the hardest part of working out is simply getting to the gym. Once you’re in your exercise clothes, the rest will be easy. With your gym bag ready to go, working out for 30 minutes won’t require a long trip home first. If 30 minutes sounds too short, rethink how you’re spending your time in the gym or getting ready to run. When you plan your workout ahead, you can accomplish a lot in a short amount of time.
Maximize your workout time
With limited time, you’ll want to quickly get right to the gym floor or out the door in your running shoes. To make the most of your limited gym time, watch the clock. Time your rest periods to no more than two minutes, shorter if you’re trying to lose weight. And when possible, do more standing exercises. You’ll get more total body engagement and less temptation to rest compared with exercises seated on a machine.
Be flexible, be fast
If your gym is crowded at lunch, see if you can more your lunch-workout hour to another time. Avoiding peak hours isn’t always possible, so be prepared to do something else if your favorite machines or weights aren’t available. If you have to wait a few minutes for a machine or station, try some high-intensity activities like jogging in place or multitask your muscles doing crunches on a stability ball. When you mix things up, your muscles will thank you for challenging them.
When every minute counts, have a plan to get in and out of the locker room fast. Saying “hi and bye” to friends will keep you on track to make a beeline into the shower. Bacteria like to breed in sweaty clothes so a thorough shower and dry off are important. If you’re really pressed for time, you can occasionally skip a shower as long as you have clean, dry clothes. Sanitize with an alcohol-based sanitizer or disposable body wipe if possible.
The benefits add up
When you make time for a work day workout, you’ll discover that even just 20 minutes will pay off. You’ll not only improve your fitness and health, you get emotional benefits too. Working out at lunch could improve your mood, reduce stress, and increase your activity level. While a short workout may not seem like much on its own, every a little bit adds up.